Dismissed

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Dismissed

“What do you mean I’m fired?”

“Stan…”

“No, really.  You’re going to sit there and tell me I’m fired?  What is this, some kind of joke?”

“Stan, listen…”

“You’re serious, aren’t you?  You’re going to sit there and pretend that you actually have a reason to let me go.  After all the years I’ve given to you people, all the stupid ideas I’ve gone along with, you’re just going to cut the cord?”

“Are you really going to tell me that this is a surprise?”

“Surprise?  Is it a surprise that you’re ungrateful?  No.  But I didn’t think you guys were actually dumb enough to pull this sort of garbage.”  Stan looked at the thin man in his early 30’s, young and with the high-tech phone that continually beckoned his attention to match.  Stan could feel the sweat beginning to bead underneath his white short-sleeve work shirt and plaid blue tie.  No longer a young man; Stan had spent the last twenty years sitting behind a desk at Intuit Accounting, and he had added an extra three inches to his gut every year to show for it.  His hairline had been a widow’s peak when he started, but now the remaining gray wisps felt Stan’s wrinkled and pudgy fingers pull at them as he tried to express his anger and vexation.

“Look Stan”, Lou, Stan’s newest supervisor in a long list of bosses said, trying to keep a calm and respectable air to what he viewed as a distasteful matter.  “The record you have with human resources backs up all our reasons.  You refuse to muster up any energy or excitement…”

“Excitement”, Stan said with eyes ablaze.  “Have you actually performed any of the tasks you assign us minion, Lou?”

“No.  That is not what I was hired to do.”

“So, you’ve never actually take the time to hang up that prissy little jacket of yours, roll up your sleeves, and hack out the numbers like the rest of us lowly accountants that you supposedly oversee?”

“Stan, you and I both know I have other matters to attend to”, Lou said with a sigh.  He could feel a migraine coming on.  He reached for his coffee mug, we aware that this fourth cup of coffee would lead him to an ulcer before he turned 35.  But he didn’t have the energy to deal with Stan without more caffeine.

“You admit that you couldn’t handle my caseload even if you tried?”

“Well it appears, despite the fact that you have less clients than any other accountant by a wide margin, that you can’t handle the load either, Stan.  Your ‘seniority’ would appear to the excuse you have for doing less work and taking more time for it.  That alone is a solid reason to dismiss you.”

“That alone?  Look, that’s ageism, which is illegal.  You’ll have to do better than that if you want an actual cause to fire me”, Stan replied with pride.  He folded his pudgy arms in defiance, as if to create an impenetrable wall of arm-fat that Lou’s lawyers would be stymied by.

“Perhaps you’re right.  Perhaps we should look at the other reasons we’re firing you.  Like just plain blatant laziness.”  Lou took a swig of his coffee, cursing and trying to not show Stan that he had just burnt himself.

“Lazy?”  Stan became even more indignant.  “It was only last Tuesday that I stayed an extra half hour to cover extra cases.”

“Yes, I remember that”, Lou said, pushing Stan’s file aside.  He placed his fingers in an interlaced-fist, rested his arms on his desk, and leaned forward.  Almost across the desk, Lou fired off his retort.  “I seem to recall our cameras recording you that day.  And you spent an hour playing solitaire on your computer.  Also, you charged us overtime for Tuesday.  You apparently feel that we should pay you extra for not working.  If we had disabled those ‘featured programs’ you love so much on your computer, you would have left a half an hour early.  Yet I still think you would have tried to charge us for a full day.”

“Oh, so now you’re spying on me?”  Stan threw his arms up in anger.  “Is there no sense of privacy here?”

“Since you want to argue about legalities, then no; there isn’t.  Employees lose their right to privacy to a certain degree.  You’re thinking about your private life.  But I assure you, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy that life now.”

Stan put his hands to the back of his neck and started rubbing back and forth.  The loose flaps of his skin shifted and slid to meet his touch.  His skin had been hardier when he had started this job.  What was meant to be a temporary job had ended up being an income that he had never walked away from.  The fears of going through interviews and “what if”s had scared him off from pursuing any other jobs that might have been more enjoyable.  Now he could feel his bank account glaring at him; that uncertain future was here and was swinging a scythe in Stan’s direction.

“Look”, Stan started off with a worried look now adorning his brow.  “What if we just give me a second chance?  Maybe put me on a trial basis?”  Lou leaned back in his chair and concealed his smirk, but only just barely.  Stan saw this and his panic only increased.  “Don’t do that Lou.  C’mon, I can work harder.”

“But you haven’t Lou, that’s the point.  You’ve had five bosses in the last three years…”

“That’s part of the problem!”  Stan stood to make his defense seem that much greater.  “How’m I supposed to keep up with expectations when all of these young idiots keep running through this office like it was some sort of professional turnstile?  You haven’t even been here two months, and you’re ready to fire me!”

“Careful Stan”, Lou replied, reaching for his coffee to hide his grin.  “You’re starting to sound a little ageist, and I should warn you that’s illegal.”

Stan shrunk a few inches at the retort.  The weight of his sagging body and the financial plans that hadn’t quite been fulfilled pulled his shoulders down.  His neck disappeared as his head descended into a pile of chins, making him that much more pathetic to Lou. 

“Enough of this, you’re done Stan.  End of the day.  Take your lack of work ethic somewhere else.”  Lou pulled Stan’s file back in front of him, pulled out a page, and had Stan sign it.

“Do I… do I get any sort of benefits package”, he asked while putting the pen slowly to paper.

“Two weeks of benefits, two weeks of pay; the standard deal that everyone gets,” Lou replied tersely.  He was done with this business transaction and was ready to move on to his unanswered phone calls.  “Security will see you out.”

Stan nodded, looking down at the grey carpet as he left.  He turned to the window just as he left Lou’s office.  The Venetian blinds, as always, were pulled tightly shut so that there would be no glare on Lou’s two computer monitors.  The sun was doing its best to light up the room, but the window barricade wouldn’t let any warmth or sunshine in.  Stan felt the coldness of the office as he closed the door behind him.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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